Sunday, January 22, 2012

30 before 30: Hitting the slopes

If you are just joining us, I am blogging my way through 30 things I have done in my life.

I am not the most athletic person in my  family. My sister and brother are the natural athletes, excelling at pretty much any sport or endeavor they have ever undertaken. They were named MVPs of swimming, water polo and and soccer while I prided myself on earning awards for team spirit. Although I was never the best at any sport, I do pride myself on trying hard and being aggressive. While athleticsm doesn't come naturally to me, I don't use it as an excuse to sit on the sidelines.

With that said, extreme sports were definitely not in my life plan. I had no false illusions that I was going to be great on anything that involved a board. Yet here I am, almost 30 years old, and I CAN WAKEBOARD and I CAN SNOWBOARD!

After I graduated from high school my dad bought a boat. We loaded it up with wakeboard gear and I was so excited to learn to wakeboard. Too bad I sucked. Actually, it wasn't even that positive. I couldn't even get up. I tried over and over again. My dad gave me hints. My sister tried to explain how it worked for her. My brother kept saying "you can do it!" My mom patiently waved the flag over and over again. I just couldn't do it. Day after day I felt like my arms were falling out of their sockets from letting the rope pull me. I spent an entire summer failing at getting up on a wakeboard. It was terrible. But the next summer I tried again. Again. And again. Finally I succeeded. And ever since then I have been able to wakeboard. I am not a great wakeboarder. I happily practice small jumps and enjoy the view from the back of the boat while my brother and his friends do 360s and tricks I don't even know how to name. But I did it; I learned to wakeboard and I can say that I AM a wakeboarder!

While wakeboarding is a big accomplishment, I think that snowboarding is probably a bigger deal to me.

So much talent that I can photograph myself while boarding. I know you are jealous.

We all started skiing when we were young kids. Through lots of practice and skiing with my parents (who are great skiers), I actually became quite a good skier by the time I was in middle school. Right about that time snowboarding gained in popularity. My athletic sister and brother, along with most of our family friends, became snowboarders. I continued schlepping my skis and poles and wearing awkward boots while the cool kids had their single snowboard and more fashionable snowboard clothing.

I continued skiing for another 10 years before I decided to take the plunge into snowboarding when I was 23 years old. I had just graduated college and moved home. I was looking for a way to reintegrate myself into life in Norther California. I was looking for new challenges and ways to hang out with friends. So I went to Tahoe and took snowboard lessons with my friend. Then I went back by myself and took more lessons. After years of speeding down black diamonds on skis, I spent hours on the bunny slopes by myself practicing turns and falling on my ass, riding my sister's long since discarded snowboard that Santa had purchased at Costco in the late 90s.

My view.

Learning to snowboard wasn't easy for me. My body ached. I suffered a lot of foot pain as I looked for the right boots. I spent a lot of time alone while my family and friends sped off on more difficult terrain. But today I am proud that I can snowboard and that I challenged myself to do something that wasn't easy.

Yes, I am such a badass that I wear a helmet.


  1. I want to learn to snowboard so we can have snowboarding dates

  2. This post is just another reason why I love you. SO HAPPY you're blogging, and SO HAPPY I know you in the real world.

  3. I tried snowboarding for my 30 before 30 list and that crap is hard! Good job!!

    P.S. Just discovered your blog and I'm loving this series!